Not letting the heat or hard work deter their desires to be the best, the Farmington High School Black Knight Marching Band began its annual two week summer band camp on July 18.
“Things are shaping up. The kids are really doing a good job,” said Elliot Naes, the school’s director of bands. “They know there is a job to do and they are prepared to work to get it done.”
This year, the band’s performance piece and half time show is the Disney inspired “Fantasmic!”
“The show is based upon the Fantasmic show at Hollywood Studios in the Disney Studio Resorts in Florida,” Naes said. “There is also a bit of a classical elements that shows up in many of Disney’s films, such as, the ‘Sorcerer’s Apprentice’ and ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ that I think most people will recognized.”
In addition, Naes said the band will also be doing a percussion piece of “Under the Sun” from “The Little Mermaid” on the steel drums.
When it came to picking a show for the year, Naes allowed his students to have some input on the music the band would be playing.
“We chose the show by asking the kids what they wanted to play,” Naes said. “They overwhelmingly chose Disney, so we had to find a way to make Disney appropriate for the judging community on Saturday in addition to the football crowds on Friday night. We definitely had to serve two purposes.”
According to Naes, the fans will take notice of the show from the first couple of notes the band plays.
“I think when people hear the first couple of notes, they will recognize it,” Naes said. “Then, as we get further into the piece, they are going to say, ‘Oh, that is the ‘Mickey Mouse March’.’ I think they are really going to like it.”
With only two weeks to prepare for the band’s preview show on Saturday at the high school, Naes, his staff and band had to be diligent while still making band fun.
“No one would do this if it wasn’t fun,” Naes said. “We have to balance fun and work. We have to balance comfort and control. We have a lot of things going on out on that field, so we definitely focus on having some fun.”
As in years past, Naes said they have “Band Olympics” during camp to allow the kids to have some fun.
“We play games and do a lot of team building,” Naes said. “But we keep the end goal in mind. Why are we out here sweating like pigs? Because we are going to put on a good show for the community, as well as to compete.”
Although each band member is an important cog in the band’s success, three of the band members will take the helm to help direct the band. This year’s drum majors are Kaylyne Barnhouse, Corben Crites and Claire Ferguson.
Although this is Naes’ fifth season in band camp since coming to the Farmington School District, this will be the first year he is the director of bands.
“This is my first year as the director, and there is definitely a lot more emails,” Naes said. “I feel comfortable with the town, the school and the kids. I know their favorite colors and what they are allergic to. It is always much easier working with them when you know each and every one of the kids by their first name.”
Naes did say he is benefitting from a good working relationship with former FHS band directors Kurt Bauche and Linda Huck.
“I am definitely relying on Kurt and Linda’s expertise and experience,” Naes said. “I ask their idea on things and they will tell what worked, what didn’t and they will tell me why.”
Joining Naes as the assistant band director is Matt Kasper, who recently graduated from University of Missouri-Kansas City and will be teaching intermediate band to seventh and eighth graders at middle school.
“I grew up in Kansas City,” Kasper said. “I was wondering what else was out there when the position at Farmington came up.”
Joining Naes and Kasper as members of the BKMB staff are Joe Strobl, Nikke McNail and Erica Dement.
For more information about the band, contact Elliot Naes at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Craig Vaughn is a reporter for the Farmington Press and can be reached at 573-518-3629 or at email@example.com